National Convention 2004
The 25th National Mustang Convention was hosted by the Taranaki Mustang Club in New Plymouth on 22-25th Oct 2004. 121 cars and 252 people registered, making it the largest NZ convention ever.
size high quality framed photographs of cars at the convention
Thursday/Friday Car Preparation & Registration
The convention was headquartered at the Plymouth Hotel. Cars began arriving Thursday and by Friday morning a good collection had accumulated in the hotel car park, with lots of washing and elbow grease being applied to already gleaming cars. As luck would have it, the Friday was warm and sunny so car preparation was less of a mission than otherwise. By Friday evening the car park was full to overflowing and most cars were fully prepared, and covers applied to keep them that way.
Registration was held in the hotel at 7.30 ish and each registered car qualified for a bucket full of goodies including a condom (general opinion seemed that only one wasnt enough ;-).
Saturday Car Show
Sure enough it rained a bit overnight but although the morning was cloudy the rain held off. After the usual towelling off where necessary, the cars headed out progressively from 6.45 am to the nearby TSB Stadium. This proved to be an excellent venue with good lighting so the cars really looked their best. However the stadium was so jammed with cars, that the overflow (ie most of the Taranaki club cars) had to be located in the adjacent Taranaki Jockey Club building.
Popular exhibits located in the entry foyer were John Hickman's 1000 hp (street legal!!) drag car, and the two NZ cars that had completed the USA 40th Anniversary Pony Drive across America earlier this year. (Read more here) .
Go here to see some photos of individual cars in the show.
The public turn-out for the show was incredible, with the building jammed with people from practically the moment it opened. Approx 7,000 people paid to see the 120 car show. Meanwhile a bus transported delegates into town for shopping.
At 3 pm with the the judging finally completed, the club presidents had their meeting. The minutes will be accessible "here" (if I am given a copy).
By 4 pm the show was over and the cars trickled back (none to slowly in a few cases!) to the various hotels.
Saturday Evening : Bowling (+ Rugby!)
At 6 pm a bus began collecting delegates and took them to the Bowlarama venue downtown for a spit-roast dinner, and a game or two. After dinner there was a split: Most stayed and did some bowling, but some Manawatu and Canterbury members headed back to the hotel to watch the NPC Wellington vs Canterbury match on the big hotel TV screen. The result was much celebrated joy for the Canterbury members!
Sunday Cruise Round the Mountain
Sunday morning and everyone rolled out of bed keen to get out on the poker run round the mountain. Keen that is until they looked out the window - it was as wet and foggy as! By the time breakfast was completed the rain had eased off but the fog was still there. Up the hill went about 100 cars to the TSB Stadium to start the event. The rain really pelted down as the cars headed out of New Plymouth, to the extent that visibility at times was limited to a few car lengths! (At least one car was known to have spun on a bend and tried facing the other way for a bit!). However by the time the cars reached Hawera, the rain and fog had cleared and the cars parked up at the Furlong Motor Inn without any further drenching.
At the Furlong the delegates were very treated to be able to witness the touching marriage ceremony of Andy Baker and Natalie Elliot. This is the first time anyone had married at a National Convention!
After the ceremony, everyone tucked into a plentiful finger food lunch, before checking out the hotrod and bike show which just happened to be happening in the other half of the Motor Inn. Then it was back to the Stangs and another wet drive back to New Plymouth to get ready for the evenings entertainment.
Sunday Evening Prize Giving, Dinner and Dance
Sunday evening was of course the prize giving and dinner/dance. The event theme was "The 60's", and as usual an amazing mixture of costumes emerged from the hotel rooms. The most common theme was the 60's hippies.
The first event of the evening was an excellent buffet dinner which ensured everyone ate too much and arrived at the prize giving part of the evening with no prospect of any hunger pangs for many hours.
During the prize giving the Taranaki club rolled out an excellent new innovation - the prize winners details and their show car were displayed for all to see on a large screen. For full prize details and all the slides from the presentation go here.
After the prize giving, the usual cake cutting ceremony was held in which all the club presidents cut a large 40th Anniversary Mustang cake.
With ceremonies completed, a live band played popular dancing music till well into the night ...
Monday Morning Breakfast and Farewells
After a relaxing lie-in Monday morning more than a few red eyes emerged to pack up the cars. Good news it was NOT RAINING and in fact a bit of sun was peeking through! Breakfast was at a sensible 9.00 am, and a beauty it was too with heaps of sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms etc etc.
At 10 am the final farewells began, with Top Gun trophy awarded to Auckland, and the club presidents each saying few farewell words. We were all invited to Auckland for next years "even bigger" convention.